Blackburn Rovers played Newcastle today, a team followed away by a band of noisy and self-consciously boisterous supporters. Every conversation I overheard as we weaved our way through their throng was about how many they were bringing, how many they took to their other games, while their taunts of the home fans were all about empty seats, we've got more fans than you etc etc.
What a boring, boorish and stupid bunch of cretins some of these fans are. I have no time for any of that rubbish. I could argue the toss about the demographics of a crowded North West, as opposed to a club with a large city region all to its self. But I can't be bothered.
The criteria of certain types of football fans - some idiot Rovers fans included - is that you only qualify as a proper football fan, a good fan, if you wear your replica shirt, have a tattoo, sing all through a game, stalk the streets loudly, drink a lot and, most importantly, to be a real fan you don't question the source of funds of your club or the morality of your players. Sing when you're winning. There's only one Joey Barton.
Slightly unrelated, but at every turn too the Premier League dominates. The players live in a different world to their supporters and yet demand more from them. More money, more encouragement, more stroking of the ego. More promises too of a "world class product" in the "best league in the world".
So, to get to the point. What of those who have a different motivation and appreciate football in a different league and with little prospect of Europe, or seeing World Cup winners? I did meet some of the greatest fans in the world today, they happened to be supporters of Southend United FC. They traveled from Essex to their game at Accrington only for it to be called off 90 minutes before kick off. They came to Ewood instead and witnessed a 0-0 draw. I have heard that Rovers only charged them £20 each. A nice touch, if true.